Saturday, September 19, 2015

Working with Schools from Pittsburgh to Belize to Duluth!

Hello and Happy Hawk Weekend! My name is Amy Feinstein and I am thrilled to be joining Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory as School Program Director for the 2015 fall migration season. School is back in session, classes are starting to make their way up to the Ridge to learn about hawks and falcons and eagles, and I’m ready to help inspire them to care for birds as much as I do. At the same time, I get the opportunity do learning of my own and see more hawks than I've ever seen before.

I've loved birds ever since I got a pet cockatiel when I was nine years old, but I was actually a music major in college (I played the cello at the University of Pittsburgh). As soon as I graduated, I decided to explore my love for birds, and I spent a summer interning with the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, where I had the opportunity to feed and care for raptors, even though I couldn’t handle them yet. Luckily for me, I got a job that same summer working as a Zoo Camp counselor at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. I ended up staying there for 7 years, working my way up from camp counselor to teaching overnight programs to becoming a year-round Education Specialist. And it wasn’t too long before I was handling Great Horned Owls, Screech Owls, and American Kestrels (as well as macaws, ducks, porcupines, tarantulas, and boa constrictors!).

Izzy the cockatiel, the bird who inspired it all. 

By that time I knew that environmental education was the right path for me, so I completed a Master’s in Zoology (with a focus on Conservation Education) at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while still working at the Zoo. That degree gave me the opportunity to travel and see birds and other animals all over the world, including Baja California, the Peruvian Amazon, and even Mongolia.

My first experience with mist nets, in Peru. I was very happy before they all became a tangled mess.

Last year I put that degree and travel experience to good use by volunteering with Ya’axché Conservation Trust in Punta Gorda, Belize, for 7 months. I worked as an environmental educator, helping students and farmers better understand the value of sustainable agriculture and prepare for the effects of climate change. I also wrote an Education Strategy for the organization, helping to focus the education department for the next 3 years. I didn’t mind at all that there was some great birding to be done while I was down there, as well…

All this experience has been a perfect lead-in to my time here at Hawk Ridge, where I have the opportunity to share my enthusiasm for birds and the environment with as many people as possible, as well as hone my own raptor identification skills. I am so excited to be part of this team of wonderful people and hope to meet you all this season up at the Ridge!

Amy Feinstein
School Program Director
Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory

1 comment:

  1. Welcome and I hope you enjoy your time at Hawk Ridge!